Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
What is he doing there?
We will never know.
But we do know it wasn’t a good idea
because Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
Like that should surprise us?
Take a look at the guy……. does he look that coordinated to you?
For those of you who are obsessed with conspiracy theories
word on the street is Humpty Dumpty was pushed. Please look into that
and get back to us.
Meanwhile, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men
were not of any help in putting Humpty Dumpty back together again –
which is to be expected considering
such work is way above their pay grade.
It is nice that so many tried to help Humpty Dumpty.
It is nice that so many try to help us, but some situations are so serious no
one can help.
So Humpty Dumpty is in pieces. As he looks at his wrecked life
what is he to do?
And no matter how long you sit next to him trying to let him know you care,
what can you say to him? So you just sit there and do the only thing that
comes to mind – you listen. And you almost drown in the gloom
that comes out of his mouth.
That is what we are going to do right now. Work on our listening skills as
we sit next to a Humpty Dumpty believer who has just been thru a
shattering fall. Splattered into pieces he vents.
Get ready for the Humpty Dumpty Psalm. Psalm 88
One of the benefits of having 150 Psalms in our Bible is that no matter what
kind of mood you are in, no matter what kind of situation you are currently
going through there is at least one Psalm that speaks directly to your
situation and can encourage you. If one Psalm doesn’t meet your need,
try a few more and soon you’ll be hooked.
Many people read at least one Psalm every day as part of their daily
Bible reading. Why don’t you join them?
As we sit down next to Humpty Dumpty let’s ask for the Lord’s help.
Heavenly Father, may we come before You with our sins confessed, our
minds focused, our hearts hungry, our hands reaching out to You for what
You would teach us. Only with Your help will this be a profitable time.
And we pray this in the name of Jesus, Amen.
Psalm 88:1a O LORD, God of my salvation,
Here we have the highpoint, the only good news in the entire Psalm.
At least the starting point is positive.
The guy writing this is a believer. God had saved the writer from his sins.
And the writer is none other than the book of Psalm’s own Humpty Dumpty.
In the verses that follow we learn he is raw, wounded, bleeding, shattered,
depressed, despondent, abandoned and sprawled out on the ground in the
mud with his face in a puddle and tire tracks across his back.
He has taken a direct hit from the wrecking ball of life, but as low as he is,
he does something right – he remembers God. He remembers God saved him
from his sin.
At sometime in the past this guy had entered into a relationship with God,
and no matter how dark his darkness is now – and it is mighty dark –
he remembers his relationship to God and still calls out to Him and calls out
to Him and never stops calling out to Him.
In his misery his praying is proof that the spark of faith is not dead in him.
“My salvation” – meaning my faith and my hope are alive.
Today can you say with confidence that God has saved you from your sin?
Are you following Christ today because you have admitted that you are a
sinner – just like everyone else – agreed that Jesus died in your place on the
cross and received Him as your Savior from your sins?
If not – then you are choosing to go through your dark times alone.
If you have put your faith and trust in Jesus as your Savior , then when the
roof caves in on your life you’ll have someone to cling to with all your
might – no matter what kind of a mess you are in.
True faith turns to God even though every other street is closed
and barrages God with nonstop prayer.
Psalm 88:1b I cry out day and night before you.
Before I started following Christ when my roof caved in I’d hit the local bar
where I was pretty well known. There is always the temptation to find
comfort in sin whether alcohol or pornography or self-pity or drugs or
revenge or suicide. Fortunately our Humpty Dumpty friend here
doesn’t use his tragedy as an excuse to sin.
Psalm 88:1b-2 says he cried to God. I cry out day and night before you.
2 Let my prayer come before you;
incline your ear to my cry!
The word “cry” means he shouted and moaned to God.
Distress had not blown out his desire to pray.
Quite the contrary, his distress accelerated his prayer
so that it was like a blast furnace.
He is seeking God constantly. And why not? If God is my savior, He
knows all about my sin, knows everything I have ever done, knows the mess
I am currently in so I can come before him with no mask on.
No need to pretend. No need to put on an act.
When a man can see Jesus as his savior, it is never 100% total darkness no
matter how dark it is.
And now put on your crash helmet and seat belt because we are going
down, almost straight down.. Our Humpty Dumpty here has unrelieved
gloom without a ray of light because of nonstop trouble.
Psalm 88:3 For my soul is full of troubles,
and my life draws near to Sheol.
Full of troubles would include “distress, injury, misery, and calamity.
Lord, can’t you see how bad my trials are? Shouldn’t that motivate you to
A tidal wave of trouble brought him to the brink of death.
His troubles were so bad he viewed himself as more dead than alive.
His life is ebbing away, his vigor is gone. He sees himself as only a shadow
of a man. He is hanging on – barely.”
Psalm 88: 4-5 I am counted among those who go down to the pit;
I am a man who has no strength,
5 like one set loose among the dead,
like the slain that lie in the grave,
like those whom you remember no more,
for they are cut off from your hand.
….already regarded as dead. No strength – almost phantom like.
Powerless. Experiencing the dark night of the soul. Feeling forgotten by
As his eyes look into the darkness he sees himself already numbered with
Are you depressed yet? Wondering why stuff like this made it into the
Anyone see any verses here that they are going to frame on their
living room wall or tape to the bathroom mirror?
To have nonstop troubles is hard to bear, but even harder to handle is being
on the outs with God.
Psalm 88:6-8 he has nothing but nonstop punishment from God – or so he
Psalm 88:6 You have put me in the depths of the pit,
in the regions dark and deep.
Humpty Dumpty places the entire blame for this catastrophe he is in on God.
Psalm 88:7 Your wrath lies heavy upon me,
and you overwhelm me with all your waves.
Why is God angry with him?
Or why does he think God is angry with Him?
We are not told the cause of God’s displeasure with him.
Please note Humpty Dumpty does not assert he is innocent.
Nor does he confess his sins.
Just as wave after wave has crashed against the seashore
so trouble after trouble has hit him hard.
We only see the consequences of his sin here.
Many details are missing for us to fully understand the situation.
Psalm 88:8 You have caused my companions to shun me;
you have made me a horror to them.
I am shut in so that I cannot escape;
Close intimate friends cannot come to him nor he to them.
Apparently his friends thought God was angry with him so they avoided
him. He is a prisoner of his misfortunes.
Psalm 88:9a my eye grows dim through sorrow.
He has little energy to even live.
What we have in front of us from :3 to :9a is a seamless progression
from mental and physical pain to divine and human rejection.
If this Humpty Dumpty were driving a car we would say
he would be sliding off the road into the ditch, bouncing up in the air,
shooting right over the cliff, slamming into rock after rock below
where the car would explode in flames, and he would wind up on life
supports in the critical care unit…..
all of which triggers even more nonstop prayer.
Psalm 88:9b Every day I call upon you, O LORD;
Sounds like this ordeal has been going on a while.
Psalm 88:9c I spread out my hands to you.
The common Old Testament way to pray.
Psalm 88:10a Do you work wonders for the dead?
Lord, my situation is so desperate
if you don’t act fast I’m not going to make it.
Psalm 88:10b-12 Do the departed rise up to praise you? Selah
11 Is your steadfast love declared in the grave,
or your faithfulness in Abaddon?
12 Are your wonders known in the darkness,
or your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?
I am not going to be much of a testimony for You when I am dead.
Praising God and telling people about the love of God and Your faithfulness
is not something I can do for You when I am outta here.
Will You act? NOW?
I think by now you can see the direction we are going.
The nonstop prayer was caused by nonstop trouble which had triggered
nonstop punishment which lead to more nonstop prayer.
And now it’s rock bottom.
Nonstop rejection – or so it seems to Humpty Dumpty.
Psalm 88:13 But I, O LORD, cry to you;
in the morning my prayer comes before you.
Lord, every day begins by crying out to you.
Psalm 88:14 O LORD, why do you cast my soul away?
Why do you hide your face from me?
“Humpty Dumpty’s deepest pain here
is that he thinks God has turned his back on him in rejection.
God’s hidden face would include no answered prayer.”
It gets worse.
Psalm 88:15 Afflicted and close to death from my youth up,
I suffer your terrors; I am helpless.
His Humpty Dumpty life started in childhood.
Maybe some illness or injury from childhood?
Psalm 88:16,17 Your wrath has swept over me;
your dreadful assaults destroy me.
17They surround me like a flood all day long;
they close in on me together.
Going through this terrifying path leaves him mentally weak, emotionally
exhausted, feeling abandoned.
And to complete this dreary plunge –
Psalm 88:18 You have caused my beloved and my friend to shun me;
my companions have become darkness.
He is in a dungeon of wretchedness where no one comes near, and he can’t
escape. God has pushed all his friends away. Is this guy in quarantine
because of leprosy? His closest friend is darkness.
Are you depressed yet?
Maybe :19 can help us. Let’s look at it.
Oh, there is no verse 19. Just an abrupt end with Humpty Dumpty strewn in
pieces on the hard ground in darkness.
And we came this far to listen to this? You mean there is no
happily ever after ending?
Of all 150 Psalms, this is the most tragic one, the only Psalm that ends with
no hope, describing the dark night of the soul.
Depressed. Deserted. Despondent.
Remember that Psalm means song. This is a song.
and when we come to the end of: 18
“Humpty Dumpty‘s musical instrument falls from his hands.
He is silent. He is exhausted. He waits to hear from God.”
So – is there anything we can learn from this disaster?
This dreary Humpty Dumpty Psalm is part of God’s book
which means it has to have something to teach us if we will let it.
Right in front of us are 7 powerful lessons.
Lesson #1 The Christian life can really get this difficult.
The Christian life can really get this difficult.
This guy has demonstrated clearly in :1 that he is a believer.
And his trial has not caused him to lose his salvation.
If we choose to ignore this serious side to Christianity
we put ourselves in a danger.
Maybe you’ve heard of the prosperity Gospel.
“It teaches if humans have faith in God, he will deliver his promises of security and material prosperity it is God’s will for his people to be happy. If we are right with God, then sickness and poverty will be broken by faith.”
Those words are more than ignorant. They are dangerous.
Suffering, trials, difficulties are clearly part of the Christian life.
If you believe the prosperity Gospel, when difficult times come,
does that mean God has left you?
You have to deal with those serious problems by yourself?
2 Corinthians 11:24-28 Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; 26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; 27 in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food,[a] in cold and exposure. 28 And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.
I once worked with a Christian who would rebuke any believer in the
office who wasn’t smiling all the time. She would walk up to us and snap,
“Smile, God, loves you. Smile, God loves you.”
Was Paul smiling when he was whipped? Was he happy when he was
jailed? If Paul had faith how could this happen?
Did God leave him? Paul, are you enjoying material prosperity?
If you apply the prosperity Gospel to Paul, was he even saved?
Be assured – the prosperity Gospel is of no help in time of need.
I know a guy, a believer, who went to a church that taught the prosperity
Gospel. He lost his job and then his girl friend dumped him.
How could that happen to him? Didn’t God want him happy?
Based on what his church taught he concluded God had dumped him, so
he killed himself. His name was John Corner. I went to his funeral.
Mr. Humpty Dumpty believer, God has not left you. It is OK if you are not
happy as you write this. You aren’t going through this trial because you
don’t have enough faith. Difficulties are part of the Christian life.
Welcome to reality.
And all the churches that teach the prosperity Gospel and ignore the topic of
suffering are not preparing believers for the rough times
that come to a culture that is running away from God.
Lesson #2 Sometimes no human can help you.
Oh, there might be lots of people around you, but all the king’s horses and
all the king’s men can’t put you back together again no matter how good
their intentions, no matter how talented they are, no matter how close they
are to you. Sometimes God puts us in problems where only He can help us
so we see His power, and He gets all the glory.
Psalm 18:1, 2 I love you, O LORD, my strength.
2 The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Look at all the military terms squished into these 2 verses!
Rock, fortress, deliverer, strength, shield, horn of my salvation, stronghold.
How would David know that God was all that?
Because David had been in many mighty difficult situations
and God was the only way out.
So Psalm 18:3 I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies.
I will call upon my friends?
David and Humpty Dumpty and we are often in situations so bad
that the only way out is God.
But because there is lesson #3
this is not the end of Mr. Humpty Dumpty believer.
He seems to think God has forgotten him.
In his misery there is one verse he is forgetting.
I have loved you with an everlasting love;
A promise to every believer.
Psalm 88 leaves us hanging. Psalm 88 has no closure. Psalm 88 is no one’s
favorite Psalm. But Humpty Dumpty is a believer.
And God takes good care of His children in His own timing.
And that is the missing piece from this Psalm. and that is lesson #3
When a Humpty Dumpty believer phones me, there is one question I always
ask: Did God bring you all this way to dump you? So God saved you from
your sins and guided you and helped you and did this and that and this and
that for you. But now He has dumped you?
He has answered your lifetime quota of prayer requests and now has kicked
you out of his family and forever turned his back on you?
Does that make any sense? Yes, sin has consequences
And maybe for disciplinary or growth reasons God is being silent for a
while. But go wash your brain out with soap if you think God has pressed
the delete button on his relationship with you.
Years ago a young believer was having a Humpty Dumpty month.
Ever felt like your prayers are really an attempt to try to wake up a God who
has fallen asleep on you, and you are trying to get his attention?
That young man sure felt that way.
In fact his Humpty Dumpty mood was so bad he was on the brink of walking
away forever from the Christian life. Fortunately Jeremiah 31:3 came into
his head. (Another reason to memorize Bible verses)
This verse kept him on God’s path, and he went on to become
a fruitful missionary.
God does not dump His own. You are not going to be the first exception.
Underline Jeremiah 31:3. Circle it. Put a star out in the margin
Bend over the top of the page. Tape this verse to the bathroom mirror.
But moving on….
how should we respond when our friends are in Humpty Dumpty moods?
How do we treat the Humpty Dumptys in our lives?
Lesson #4 It’s test time.
What is the quality of your love towards Humpty Dumpty Christians?
1 Corinthians 13:4
Love is longsuffering…..
Some of your Bibles say love is patient. That is a poor translation.
Literally the word is longsuffering, willing to suffer a long time,
which is much stronger than “patient”.
Having read through Ps 88 you know his recovery will take some time.
A loving friend is willing to make the time to go through the recovery
slowly with him. Does that include you?
I brought a truck load of problems into the Christian life with me,
and one guy who went to the same church I did told me
that he would spend time with me after I got my life together,
after I stopped being such a depressing person.
That is conditional love. Love with strings attached.
Humpty Dumpty, if you’d only get your act together, we’d be best buddies,
forgetting totally that Humpty Dumpty is not capable of getting his act
A friend loves at all times
And a brother is born for adversity.
Our message to the Humpty Dumptys of our lives should be,
“You’re stuck with me as a friend. I’m not going anywhere.”
To the Humpty Dumptys, do you get it you are not alone?
You have soul mates. The Humpty Dumpty believer’s club is bigger
than you might think with some pretty famous members throughout church
Martin Luther of the 16th century who started the reformation wrote:
“If someone else had the tribulations I have suffered
he would have long since died.” Doubt, turmoil, and despair came upon
William Cowper of the 18th century was institutionalized for insanity,
then came to faith in Christ but continued to suffer doubt and,
after a dream he believed that he was doomed to hell.
He recovered and wrote Christian hymns
and hung out with John Newton, author of the hymn Amazing Grace.
Hundreds of years later Cowper’s writings inspired the American civil rights
Charles Spurgeon 19th one of the greatest preachers of all times
had severe bouts of depression
Oswald Chambers, 20th century writer, went through 4 years of spiritual
So today maybe you sit in the “darkness of a lonely room
filled with sadness, filled with gloom”, but you don’t sit alone
Those illustrious believers among many others
have sat there with you in their own Humpty Dumpty moments…
you are in good company.
And just as God went on to use those men mightily
He can do the same with you. God is not done with you.
Lesson # 6
We need to talk about Christian music. Psalm 88 is a song
The book of Psalms is a book of song lyrics.
We are looking at the hymnal of Old Testament believers.
Compare the words in the book of Psalms to the
words of 2lst century Christian music.
62 of the Psalms are laments that express sorrow,
disorientation, pain, distress, anger and feelings of abandonment.
How many Christian songs today express such feelings?
God makes no attempt in the Psalms to cover up the difficult times of the
Christian life. What about our Christian music today?
Thomas Kinkade, the Christian painter, said he wanted to paint pictures as if
sin had never entered the world. Has that attitude spilled over into some
Christian music today that is just sentimental, self-centered, feel
good fluff instead of God centered, God exalting, biblically based?
How can we even bring ourselves to sing that Christians are
“happy happy happy happy all day long”? That is prosperity Gospel
thinking. Oh, that song is for kids? So we’ll just teach kids songs like that
that are lies – and that song is a lie –
and when they grow up then we’ll start teaching them truth?
And we call that Christian education?
There are a few churches that sings the Psalms
at their church. Their hymnal is the book of Psalms. Period.
A novel idea! Look what they are doing: they are not
only praising God in their music, but they are helping their congregation to
memorize Bible verses at the same time. Maybe they are on to something.
Maybe we should ask ourselves just how biblical is some of the Christian
music we listen to and teach our kids?
Which brings us to the final lesson:
Lesson #7 about grace. And what a rich way to end!
Mr. Humpty Dumpty Psalm 88 thinks he sits in darkness, but you and I
know that while he is overwhelmed by his catastrophe,
because he is a believer God’s grace is going to help him.
That sounds nice, but what is grace?
Grace is a nice Christian word that we use a lot.
Don’t know about you – I was slow to get what the word really means.
Very simply grace is God doing for us what we can’t do for ourselves.
There are times when my kitchen sink is piled high with dirty dishes.
God has never ever washed one of them because I can do that for myself.
The oil in your car needs changing? Don’t expect God to come to your
aid when your mechanic can do the job.
But we are totally incapable of saving ourselves from ours sins
so God swoops in and saves us from our sins when we put our faith and trust
in Him. That’s Grace. We are totally incapable of solving our sin problem
so we throw ourselves on God and ask Him to save us….and He does.
So you come to Christ and realize you have lots of bad habits that you can’t
break. You try to turn from sin but by yourself you can’t do it.
So again we cry to God for help, and He gives us grace, the ability to slowly,
steadily free ourselves from sin.
And that annoying relative you’d really like to avoid but you can’t,
so instead you cry out to God to help you control your temper
and you come home amazed that you didn’t lose it –
that was God’s grace helping you to do what you apart from God are not
capable of doing.
And that scary surgery you face and the death of your friend
and that awful problem you’ve got to resolve
God is going to hear your cry and will help you through.
That’s grace – doing for you what you what you are incapable of doing for
We are saved only by grace. We live the Christian life only by grace.
Get this: God specializes in putting us in difficult situations
that are impossible for us to handle on our own so we cry out to Him.
And He helps us, and we see His power and His love and His guidance.
And we are closer to Him than we have ever been. That is grace. Isn’t grace
Humpty Dumpty Christians have only one place to turn: God and His grace.
They will not be let down. Humpty Dumpty in the nursery rhyme has no
access to grace. But Mr. Psalm 88 and you and I have access to grace.
That makes all the difference.
What Humpty Dumpty situation are you in today
that is really your opportunity to cry out to God
and see His grace swoop in to help you?
More importantly – most importantly – do you see that the worst situation to
be in today is to be outside God’s family?
If you want to start following Christ, start! Now!
Ask God to deliver you out of the darkness of sin in which you sit.
He will come through for you.